Green light for taxi firms to adopt surge pricing

SMRT, Premier, Trans-Cab and HDT Singapore Taxi will partner Grab to introduce the surge pricing option, while ComfortDelGro, the largest taxi operator here, intends to introduce a "flat fare structure" for its Comfort and CityCab taxis, which is sim
SMRT, Premier, Trans-Cab and HDT Singapore Taxi will partner Grab to introduce the surge pricing option, while ComfortDelGro, the largest taxi operator here, intends to introduce a "flat fare structure" for its Comfort and CityCab taxis, which is similar in price to its metered fares.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

Taxi companies have been given the green light to introduce dynamic fares, known popularly as surge pricing.

The Public Transport Council and the Land Transport Authority said in a joint statement yesterday that they had reviewed the proposals put forward by taxi operators, as well as ride-hailing firm Grab, and had "no objections".

Four firms - SMRT, Premier, Trans-Cab and HDT Singapore Taxi - will partner Grab to introduce the new pricing option.

Although commuters will now be able to see fixed upfront fares when booking a taxi using the Grab app, they will also be subject to fares which fluctuate based on demand.

Already in place for private-hire cars from Uber and Grab, the controversial practice has seen fares increase by as much as five times during periods of high demand.

ComfortDelGro, the largest taxi operator here, will not introduce dynamic pricing "for now" despite previously expressing interest. It said, however, that it intends to introduce a "flat fare structure" for its Comfort and CityCab taxis, which would be similar in price to its metered fares. Street-hail taxis, as well as those hired by phone bookings, will still go according to the meter.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 18, 2017, with the headline 'Green light for taxi firms to adopt surge pricing'. Print Edition | Subscribe